14 May 2022

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tests positive for Covid-19

3:28 pm on 14 May 2022

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed that she has tested positive for Covid-19.

Jacinda Ardern

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Her daughter Neve tested positive on Wednesday, she added in the post. Her partner Clarke Gayford tested positive on Sunday.

"Despite best efforts, unfortunately I've joined the rest of my family and tested positive for Covid-19," Ardern wrote on social media.

Ardern has been symptomatic since Friday night, according to a statement, and has "moderate" symptoms. She returned a weak positive Friday night and a clear positive this morning on a RAT test.

Ardern will be required to isolate until the morning of Saturday 21 May.

Ardern, who has been isolating since Gayford tested positive, will now have to miss the Budget announcement on Thursday and the release of the government's Emissions Reduction Plan on Monday.

"There are so many important things happening for the government this week," she wrote.

"I'm gutted to miss being there in person, but will be staying in close touch with the team and sharing some reckons from here.

"To anyone else out there isolating or dealing with Covid, I hope you take good care of yourselves!"

Former National Prime Minister Sir John Key said he believes that the prime minister will be disappointed to miss out on Thursday's budget.

"The prime minister always plays a role, both in terms of their speech in the House on the day and reflections that they might give to the media," he said.

"[It's] also just an opportunity to soak up and reflect the work that's gone into any budget, because that is usually three or four months of very detailed planning."

Sir John said the finance minister takes the lead on Budget day.

"I always used to enjoy the day because you get an opportunity in the House to reaffirm in a slightly more casual style the thinking of the government.

"By definition the Minister of Finance's speech is a pre-prepared written speech formally read into the House, it's a little different than a speech the prime minister can give on the day."

Sir John said that New Zealanders, regardless of their political views, will wish Ardern a speedy recovery.

Ardern's upcoming travel to the United States, scheduled for late May, will go ahead as planned at this stage. She is scheduled to give the commencement speech at Harvard University on 26 May.

Former Labour Party president Mike Williams hopes she will be well enough to travel.

"After two years of isolation, internationally she's a rock star attraction, and it does the country a hell of a lot of good to get her out and about."

Williams said Ardern, 41, is young and fit, so should be fine.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson will take the post-cabinet press conference on Monday.

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